So excited to be talking to Rachel Seward, the Vice President of Enterprise Communications and Philanthropy at MiTek, on our sixth episode of Changemakers from within. For the full episode, listen here or where you get your podcasts:
After her undergrad years, Rachel joined Teach for America, a teaching corps in the US where young adults commit to teaching for two years in underserved communities. Her experience as a teacher was really a pivoted experience for her that served as motivation to change her career path.
From there, Rachel joined a community investment program called Venture Partners, a program of a non-profit in St.Louis called the regional Business Council. This was an incredible learning opportunity for her and taught her a lot about investing strategically in communities.
With her exposure and understanding of the nonprofit network in St. Louis, as well as the business community, Rachel was recruited to a role in Community Affairs at Wells Fargo. Here, Rachel led all of their St. Louis-based charitable giving and partnered closely with the leadership team. She shared that one of the coolest programs that she and her team did at the time was a program involving partnering with schools within the St. Louis Public School District.
While creating a partnership between Wells Fargo and the district, Rachel was able to build a close relationship with the superintendent and the person who was ultimately her predecessor. So when that predecessor moved onto another role, Rachel received an offer to step into the role of Deputy Superintendent of Institutional Advancement! Rachel expressed that this was an amazing opportunity for her to tell a different story and get in control of the conversation.
After five years as Deputy Superintendent, Rachel received a call from MiTek.
For those who might not know, as part of the construction industry, MiTek creates products, automations, and software for the global building industry. MiTek is headquartered in a suburb of St.Louis called Chesterfield and has a huge global presence primarily in North America, Europe, South Africa, Asia Pacific Coast, Australia, and New Zealand. Wow! MiTek also has about 1,300 Millennials in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Amazing!
MiTek has this great ambition to transform Global Communities through building!
Now that we know a little bit about MiTek, let’s learn more about Rachel and her journey in community engagement and philanthropy at MiTek:
Rachel described the beginning of her role at MiTek to painting from a blank canvas. She went on to express that,
“We’ve had to be really intentional about how we make sure we engage all of our people around the globe and what corporate citizenship looks like.”
MiTek’s work in philanthropy is guided by four principles: courage, innovation, stewardship, and unity. Rachel believes that unity is so important to our communities and is the key to being successful in making impact.
MiTek’s 3 Pillars on Unleashing Human Potential around the World:
- Educate to Innovate: about equipping individuals with the skills to fill future trade and technology jobs. Rachel emphasizes that there aren’t enough people going into STEM careers and that we need to close that gap.
- Shelter Humanity: providing affordable safe and equitable basis for people to live work and play in global communities
- Protect our Planet: safeguarding our natural environment and enabling the development of sustainable structuresNow
MiTek and COVID-19
MiTek’s original strategy that they launched in January was flipped upside down when the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting the US. Eager to contribute to our community, MiTek invested in a lot of COVID-19 relief and targeted their efforts on a lot of the hardest-hit areas around the world.
Global Transformation Teams
Looking forward to the rest of this year and onward to 2021, Rachel and her team at MiTek restarted their conversation that they had prior to the pandemic and activated their transformation teams around the world. Rachel stresses that she wants to,
“make sure that anything we do makes a lot of sense in the region where it’s being delivered and that our teams there have a lot of engagement and input into what that looks like.”.
Rachel is very excited to see how these transformations teams will impact our global community!
Global Day of Service
Rachel shares that MiTek has visions for a Global Day of Service where employees at MiTek engage in a day or a week of service for our community. With the barriers that COVID-19 on our society and the importance of social distancing, Rachel understands that her plans for connecting employees together for a day of service will have to look a little different from how it’s traditionally done. One of the questions that she’s been asking herself is “how can we take the spirit of that [employee volunteerism] and the intention of that moment of unity and having everyone engaged in something sort of service-related and impact-related and still make that happen?”. This of course is a hard question to tackle but we think it’s amazing that Rachel and her team at MiTek are being flexible and creative around how we live in this new “normal” world.